Hello there. You have been directed to this page because you publicly asked a question or made a comment about whether the TV show "Mystery Science Theater 3000" will ever or could ever come back to TV, and/or why it hasn't happened yet. Here's the scoop.
Q: Is there a chance Syfy (the new name of channel formerly
known as The Sci-fi Channel) would ever bring
A: We can't speak for Syfy, but we feel it's safe to say that Syfy has moved on, doesn't regret canceling MST3K at all, and has no second thoughts. Syfy executives made their decision on MST3K back in 1999 when they canceled it, and that decision seems pretty darn final and does not seem like it's going to be reversed.
TV networks are about making a profit. They're not about fond memories
and emotions. Network execs expect their shows to get good ratings and
continually improve on those ratings. MST3K was canceled because its
ratings were NOT great, no matter how much WE loved it. In the minds of
Syfy executives, MST3K had its chance to prove that it was a ratings
winner and it didn't succeed. The fond memories of its fans don't enter
into the equation at all.
Q: If Syfy or some other network wanted to revive the show, would the cast be interested?
A: That seems extremely unlikely. The cast has also moved on, and all are busy with new projects.
We urge you to check out both these projects. They're great and really keep the spirit of MST3K alive. But it's clear that, even if any of these people wanted to recreate MST3K, it's unlikely their schedules would permit it.
Q: But I heard that, before he started Cinematic Titanic, Joel contacted Jim Mallon about restarting the show.
Yes, that's true. Jim Mallon, who controls the MST3K name and
franchise, will probably never get a better offer to restart the series
than the one Joel made him, and yet nothing came of the proposal. If it
was going to happen, it was going to happen then, and it didn't happen.
Q: Okay, so restarting the series is impractical. But people STILL LOVE the old episodes! Why, oh, why doesn't some channel pick them up and show reruns?
A: It's important to understand that MST3K is not like any other TV show. To put most shows on TV, you just have to buy the legal rights to show it. Not MST3K. To put an episode of MST3K on TV, you not only have to buy the rights to show it, you ALSO have to buy the rights to show the movie IN the episode (yes, some of the featured movies are in public domain, but not many). A network that wanted to show all 10 seasons of MST3K would have to hire enough lawyers to track down the rights owners for about 200 movies, and negotiate a separate rights contract with each one. The costs of this project would very likely run into the millions of dollars.
And, remember, networks only run a TV show because they think they can get advertisers to pay them more than what it costs to put a show on the air. Think of the huge amount of money advertisers would have to pay in order to cover those costs and make the whole venture profitable. It doesn't seem like this business formula has much of a chance.
Q: But I want to see those shows again!
A: May we direct you to a company called Shout! Factory, which continues to release sets of four MST3K episodes every few months. Many of the most famous episodes are available for purchase and more are coming in the months and years ahead.
Q: Hey, why are they only releasing four episodes at a time? What I really want is full seasons of MST3K!
A: Shout only releases four-episodes sets for the same reasons explained above about the costs of securing the movie rights. Even if Shout could negotiate the rights to all the episodes in a given season (and in any given season there are going to be at least one or two episodes where the movie rights are going to be difficult or impossible to get), in order to pay for the costs of all that work, and still allow Shout to make a profit, the price of the set would be beyond what most consumers could afford.
Shout is releasing these sets the way they are because its the most cost-effective way to do it, and that allows them to price these sets at a level where most people can afford them.
Q: I understand that, but I still can't afford these sets, and I would like to watch the old episodes? What can I do?